We examine the “puffed-up inner disk” model proposed by Dullemond, Dominik, & Natta for explaining the near-IR excess radiation from Herbig Ae/Be stars. Detailed model computations show that the observed near-IR excess requires more hot dust than is contained in the puffed-up disk rim. The rim can produce the observed near-IR excess only if its dust has perfectly gray opacity, but such dust is in conflict with the observed 10 μm spectral feature. We find that a compact (~10 AU), tenuous (τV ≲ 0.4), dusty halo around the disk inner regions contains enough dust to readily explain the observations. Furthermore, this model also resolves the puzzling relationship noted by Monnier & Millan-Gabet between luminosity and the interferometric inner radii of disks.

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Published in The Astrophysical Journal, v. 636, no. 1, p. 348-361.

© 2006. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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